Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hymn of the Week--Have Thine Own Way, Lord

We have missed being at church for the past few weeks. We get some great communication pieces though that help us keep up with the life of the church. This week our church focuses on prayer. To that end, we chose the hymn "Have Thine Own Way, Lord." Over the years, I have struggled with prayer, especially as I began to trust more in the sovereignty of God in all things. It seems to me though that this song captures what prayer is about. It is our chance to tell God our desires and ask him to shape our desires to be more in line with His will. I am still struggling with this issue. It seems to me to need some more reading and thinking.

Hymn of the Week
Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Words by Adelaide A. Pollard
Music by George C. Stebbins

Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way,
Thou art the potter, I am the clay,
Mold me and make me, fester thy will,
While I am waiting, gilded and still.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caleb the artist

One of the gifts that Caleb got for his birthday was some new colored pencils, crayons and some drawing books. He loves drawing and its getting pretty good. Every week at Wednesday night church he colors a picture. It is always really good. We save it and put it up on our bulletin board. This is one way that we can really celebrate him. Here's a sample of Caleb's latest work from this morning.

Alpena highlight

From Alpena
One of my favorite things that we did in Alpena was building a quinzy or snow cave in the huge pile of snow that the snow plow left. We started it on Christmas day with Alex and then finished it the next day. It was big enough for me to sit up in and we even lit some candles. My dream is that someday we'll dig a huge snow cave and sleep in it. I think it will be a while before that happens. It sure was fun though.

Happy Birthday Caleb!

From Alpena
Today Caleb turns five-years-old. Wow. Caleb is so much fun and energetic. He loves to be around people and spend time with kids his age. He loves art and is very creative. We celebrated his birthday at Gigi's house with a "Michael Phelps" party. This amounted to lots of American flags, some gold medals and doing our best to put away 10,000 calories. We ended the party at the Plaza Pool in Alpena. It was a ton of fun and I think Caleb really enjoyed it. We got Caleb a tape recorder and an Indiana Jones outfit. We've already gotten some good recordings. Maybe I'll try to figure out how to put some of those online. You can see all of the photos here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Gammons Family

On behalf of our whole family, I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas. I hope that this Christmas, each of you are gripped by the wonder of our savior being born as a baby, living a perfect life and offering himself as a ransom on a cross. We have definitely had glimpses of this wonder, intermixed with sled rides, fires, sleigh rides, vomiting children, diarrhea and family. One of the best parts of our time together was the Christmas play that Mom and Shube put together with the kids. You can see a snippet below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More sleigh ride

Here is a video from last night's sleigh ride. It continues to snow here and we continue to have a great time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just hear those sleigh bells

From Alpena

Today we went out to Gary Jones' land for one of the best times I've had in a while. We took a sleigh ride through his beautiful property behind two of his horses, Agnes and Annie. We have so much snow here, it was perfect. My highlight was seeing the smiles on all of my kids faces during the sleigh ride. I also really enjoyed hearing Gary, with great pride, talk about his land, his two new cows, his successful try at maple syrup last spring and how he is learning to live off his land. We even got a brief tour of the log home that he built 15 years ago. As I have written before, I have had (and still do) have dreams of living on some land in the country. It was great to hear of the success of one man in accomplishing his dreams. When we were done, we roasted marshmallows, drank hot cocoa and sat by a great bonfire.

If you are ever in Alpena, Michigan and want to have a wonderful experience with your family, contact Gary Jones. Tell him that the Gammons family sent you. You can see all of our pictures here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hymn of the Week--Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

As we turn toward Christmas week, I wanted to choose a carol that speaks of the glory of God revealed through the incarnation of his son Jesus. Last night right before dinner I sang through this carol in my head and I think it definitely fills that bill. Join us this week in lauding the glory of God, given to us in the babe born in a manger about which the angels spoke to the shepherds in the hills around Bethlehem. This is the glory that has reconciled us to God and delivered us from his wrath. In deed, Glory to God in the highest!

This is another hymn where later verses are even more rich. This is the third verse.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

I love the line about him laying his glory by, born that man no more may die. That is the Gospel. That is why God came to earth. That is why we celebrate Christmas!

Hymn of the Week
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Words by Charles Wesley
Music by Felix Mendelssohn

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”


Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Mahalia Jackson delivers a beautiful and triumphant rendition. I would love to hear her belt this one out with a background choir of angels someday in Heaven. This will definitely be one that we sing around the throne!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nagel night at the Gammons house

From December
Last night we focused on all things Gregg Nagel. First, Amanda and the boys made hockey puck cookies and the pictured hockey rink diorama. (Gregg loves hockey.) Then for dinner Amanda made Gregg and Allison's recipe for poppy seed chicken. MMMmmm. Finally, in God's perfect providence, a gift arrived in the mail from Gregg and Allison. The kids were thrilled with all of this, especially the Indiana Jones action figures and the book with the mirror. Molly couldn't get enough of looking at herself in the little mirror and laughing. She's funny. (Thanks, G&A.) It was fun to come home to another demonstration of Amanda's creativity.
From December

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas at our house

From Christmas '08

Since we are going to be at my mom's house for Christmas we did exchanged gifts on Monday night. It was a lot of fun to see the excitement on the faces of the kids. We have followed the tradition of some by getting the kids three gifts (like Jesus got): one is a book; one is something we they want; one is something we wanted to get them.

Molly was most excited to get the Dr. Seuss book "Hop on Pop". She has been walking around for weeks saying, "Hop pop, hop pop." She's hilarious. Matthew got the gun that I referenced a few days ago. Caleb got a new bike. It was fun to see him on that. I think we'll have a lot of fun this Spring. Ben was most excited about the Lego Imperial Cruiser that he and Caleb got from Shube. He was also way into the new keyboard that we got him. He has been spending every non-Lego moment messing with that. We are all looking forward to finishing the week and seeing Mom/Gigi. You can see all of the pictures so far from Christmas here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hymn of the Week--Away In A Manger

We have a Little People's nativity scene that every time you push the star down on the top, it plays Away In A Manger. Unfortunately, it has soured me a little to this Christmas hymn. But when Shirley suggested last night after dinner, Ben was very excited. I was excited too to see the boys sing a long with this one. I learned this when I was their age in Aunt Betty's class at Waterford Community Church. Below you can hear Ben and Caleb from two years ago singing this carol. Turn it up. It is a great one!

Hymn of the Week
Away In A Manger
Words by J. C. File
Music by William J. Kirkpatrick

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

Gabcast! bcm #7 - Away in a Manger

Ben and Caleb sing

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nagel grandkids

From Christmas '08

We have begun the Christmas season. Last night we got together with Dave and Joni and Brad and Sarah for a good ham dinner and gift exchange. You can check out the photos from last night and all of our Christmas photos here.

What's wrong with America?

What's wrong with America? Well, there is probably a pretty long list, but after hitting both Target and Toys 'r' Us this weekend, I've got a pretty short list. For Christmas I wanted to get Matthew a toy gun. The one that I had in my mind was the Daisy rifle that all the cool kids had when I was little. It was really cool looking and when you shot it, it went "bunwg". When I went to Target--nothing. At Toys 'r' Us, more of the same. The only guns that they had were branded with Batman, Indiana Jones, Kung Fu Panda or something like that. I think that this will result in a whole generation of little boys who won't have the fun that Joey and I did. We spent a lot of time playing "guns" with our neighbors. When I was looking for info on the web about this, I came across this article from 1988 about K Mart and Toys 'r' Us phasing toy guns out.

So this morning, I jumped online and went to toyarsenal.com and found exactly what I needed (pictured below.) It's not the exact gun that I was looking for, but I think Matt will love it. How about you? Did you play guns growing up? For Jim and Alex (our friend who is a policeman and my brother-in-law hunter), what do you guys think about toy guns? Are they DANGEROUS?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chicken rice soup

From December
This weekend Amanda had pulled a chicken from the freezer for us to have. Even though no one was really in the mood to eat, we made it anyway. I had some, then I did the Grandma thing and sat at the table and pulled all the meat off. I took all of the juices and the drippings from the pan, threw that and the carcass in the stock pot with my mirepoix (carrots, celery and onions) and some chicken broth. After consulting with one of my mentor chefs (thanks, Joni) about the correct amount of rice to put in, we were in business. We had this for dinner last night and it was great! The flavor was perfect. I've made chicken soup before and often it is a little on the flavorless side. I did add some dried herbs, but I think that it was all of the pan drippings that I put in that really made the difference. I will be enjoying another bowl today at lunch.

Christmas cookies

From December
Before the kids got sick this week, we baked cookies and took them around to our neighbors. As I looked at the pictures this morning, I could definitely see the beginnings of their sickness. Amanda and I laughed the next morning hoping that our whole street didn't get what we had. I think you can get arrested for that kind of thing. Isn't that biological warfare or something?

The most fun was at the end when just Caleb, Ben and I went to an older couple's house toward the end of our street. I asked the boys if they wanted to sing our Hymn of the Week, "Joy to the World." Ben said that he wanted to see "Jingle Bells". Caleb said, "Okay, but not the Batman one." The woman that came to the door was surprised and I think very happy to see us. It was a good Christmas memory. You can see a few other pictures from that night here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wash your hands

From November '08
It's that time of year at the Gammons' house. On Saturday, Molly threw up in her sleep. We all stayed home from church and small group. We thought about trying to go to small group, because we thought it might have just been something she ate. We were glad we didn't when she threw up again. Then on Monday night, all three of the boys woke up to vomit. We were up from about 11:00 PM until 3:30 AM or so. I stayed home from work yesterday to spare my coworkers and to help with the kids. Most of the day was spent doing all of the laundry from the night before. Nobody ate anything yesterday and so we had a pretty good day.

I woke up this morning to Caleb vomiting at my bedside. I was so glad that he at least made it out of his bed. Everyone is on the mend though. We have mandated extreme handwashing and no cup or binkie sharing. We've sprayed a lot of Lysol and are going to try and stay on top of this. We definitely don't want to enter the Christmas season with this stuff.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hymn of the Week--Joy To The World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come. That is the thing that has given me great joy this year. I was so disappointed yesterday when we had to stay home from church. All of us were sick as dogs (thus begins our winter marathon.) Advent is obviously one of my favorite times at church and it is all tied to the joy that we sing about and hear preached. What else is there that can truly bring joy except the realization that we were deserving of Hell for our Sin, God in his grace sent his son to be born a baby, live a perfect life, and die for the ultimate sacrifice. This is joy!

I wish we were learning all of the verses. They are great. In many Advent hymns, the second verses and following really get into the reasons why Christ came and many could be sung all year. This is one such. Enjoy the version below by Nat King Cole.

Hymn of the Week
Joy to the World
Words by Isaac Watts
Music arranged by Lowell Mason

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The attack of the Tooth Fairy

From December

Ben's tooth had been loose for a few weeks. Then yesterday he tried to bite a LEGO apart and that did it. It really loosened it up and it hurt. Amanda didn't want me to pull. She said that she had many traumatic memories of her dad with pliers. At lunch though, when I touched it, I couldn't believe how loose it was. I told Ben it wouldn't hurt, and it didn't. The Tooth Fairy did visit him last night and left him a silver dollar. We decided that would be a fun tradition. How much did the Tooth Fairy leave you when you were little?

Minnesota Molly

From December
We got our first good snow this past week. The boys were excited to get out in it. Not to be outdone, Molly bundled up and got out there. She did great. She would fall down, but get right back up. Once she lost her mitten though, she was ready to come in. Amanda and I laughed because Molly is the only Minnesota native in our family. Maybe she'll grow up to love snow machines and ice fishin'.

Molly in hat

From December
Can you believe this picture? The Arendt family got us this hat when Molly was born. I wondered if she would ever fit into it. Until now, it has served as Caleb's rock 'n' roller hat, his Indiana Jone's hat and his cowboy hat. Now it's Molly's hat.


Check out these pics of the boys. I think the most interesting part is how old Ben looks in them.